(Photo credit to Jim Watson/AFP.)
The report notes that ‘victory’ in Iraq would be a blow to the jihadists, and that failure (especially if it led to the establishment of an al-Qaeda sanctuary or if veteran foreign jihadists dispersed out of Iraq to engage in terrorism in other parts of the world) would also be very bad. Thus, the report highlights the essential dilemma Iraq poses for the war on terror: staying fuels the al-Qaeda-inspired movement, creating a net increase in the terrorist threat; while leaving Iraq in chaos would also worsen the threat. (emphasis mine)
With a push underway to declassify the NIE, the Bush Administration is now saying they "will declassify parts of the National Intelligence Estimate…." Enough of the declassification process being used to cherry-pick in order to do CYA for George Bush. Do you trust this man to be truly honest with the American public — let alone himself?
Accountability. Oversight. Now.
UPDATE: I was on a briefing call with Nancy Pelosi that ended a few minutes ago. Leader Pelosi and the Democratic leadership in the House requested a closed, secret session today to deal with the revelations reported regarding the NIE — which has been shared only with a very narrow number of elected officials in Congress, who are then bound by secrecy rules and prohibited from discussing classified findings contained therein. Here is the text of that request:
Pursuant to clause 9 of Rule XVII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, I move that the House be cleared of all persons except the Members, Delegates, Resident Commissioner, and officers of the House to consider communications that I believe should be kept secret for the present.
And here is a statement from Pelosi regarding the request:
"Media reports last weekend disclosed a consensus judgment of senior officers from across the intelligence community that the war in Iraq was having a serious negative impact on our efforts against terrorism. Rather than reducing the number of terrorists worldwide and destroying the worldwide terrorist network, the war in Iraq is having precisely the opposite effect.
"These conclusions are reportedly contained in a National Intelligence Estimate published last April. They are precisely the professional judgments that should have informed our debate through the spring and summer on the situation in Iraq and the best way forward. Sadly, they did not, and President Bush has left the public with a false impression about the war in Iraq and the war on terrorism.
"We did not invade Iraq to fight terrorism, as the President would now have us believe. Instead, we are less safe today because the war in Iraq has hindered our ability to make progress in combating terrorism. The reported NIE makes that case clearly.
"As the House prepares to debate critical funding bills for the Department of Defense this week, we need to consider fully the assessments of our intelligence agencies on terrorism. That is why I offered the motion to have the House go into secret session – it is our responsibility, as part of our duty to conduct oversight over the war in Iraq."